Saturday, February 1, 2014

SecDef makes surprise calls to missile alert officers

by Josh Aycock
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

2/1/2014 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Flying back to Washington D.C. from the Munich Security Conference aboard an E-4B aircraft, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a series of surprise phone calls to six officers currently pulling alert in three of the 341st Missile Wing's launch control centers.

In a series of candid conversations that lasted approximately one hour, Secretary Hagel relayed his confidence in their ability to carry out the nuclear mission to members of the 10th, 12th and 490th Missile Squadrons. He also took time to listen to their concerns and relayed that he deeply appreciates their critical service to the nation.

"Secretary Hagel asked how I felt about everything that's going on and I told him the workload has increased and it's hard to see friends involved," said 1st Lt. Jordan Seibert, 12 MS missile combat crew commander. "It was really humbling, and it showed that our mission is on his mind."

The officers relayed to Secretary Hagel that they hoped the nuclear review he ordered will result in improvements for the ICBM career field.

"I was able to express to him personally that I feel optimistic about potential changes in how we're tested," said Capt. Adam Ross, 490 MS missile combat crew commander. "More importantly, I'm optimistic about how we can find new ways to interpret the results of our testing."

Secretary Hagel thanked the missileers for dealing with a higher operational tempo and more time on alert given the ongoing investigation. He encouraged them to continue carrying out their mission in support of strategic deterrence.

"The SECDEF showed concern for the crew force's personal life impacts, with the understanding that we are being called upon to complete a higher ops tempo to complete our mission," said 1st Lt. Tracie Davis, 10 MS missile combat crew commander said. "It really showed interest in us for him to take his personal time to connect with the force. He absolutely achieved his goal to connect and show concern for this mission and its people."

For one member, it was definitely an alert to remember.

"The call was surprising and really cool," said 2nd Lt. James Hunter III, 10 MS deputy missile combat crew commander who was in the midst of completing his first alert. "It's something I will never forget. Eye opening."a


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